CCTV footage from social media
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
TWO men disguised as women, both wearing long dark wigs, pulled off a daring morning robbery at the John Bull store in Freeport yesterday, smashing a display case and stealing a number of high-priced watches.
At least one of the thieves appeared to have his chest padded to give the illusion of breasts.
This is the second time in two months that men wearing women’s clothes have robbed a jewellery store after a similar theft happened at a business in Nassau earlier this year.
Meanwhile, customers and employees inside the Grand Bahama store were taken by surprise and left shocked by the daring smash and grab incident that occurred sometime around 10am yesterday. The thieves did not have guns and escaped on foot in a nearby vehicle, which was later recovered by police.
Surveillance video footage of the robbers dressed in women’s clothing went viral on social media. In the footage, the two men are seen running from the Port Lucaya Marketplace store clutching large handbags. One of the thieves clutched his wig as he ran, in an effort to keep it from falling off.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Terecita Pinder said officers are combing the island in search of the perpetrators and are appealing to the public for information that could assist them with their investigation.
She reported that police at Port Lucaya received a report of a robbery at John Bull where two persons dressed as women entered the store.
“They smashed the showcase and took some high-priced watches. After they left on foot, they entered a dark-coloured vehicle, and that vehicle was later recovered a short time later,” ASP Pinder reported.
When The Tribune arrived, crime scene investigators were at the store. Several yellow numbered markers were set down on the floor inside the store, and officers were speaking with employees.
Police would not disclose a description of the vehicle or where it was found, but sources told The Tribune the getaway car was a stolen vehicle.
ASP Pinder said the suspects did not have guns and no shots were fired.
A nearby booth vendor recalled seeing two feminine looking men walking in the vicinity moments before the robbery.
“I did not pay that much attention to them, and then (I) heard a loud noise and commotion inside the store,” the vendor said.
Port Lucaya Marketplace has its own in-house security officers on foot patrol and surveillance cameras in the area as there are a number of jewellery stores in the shopping centre.
According to a vendor at Port Lucaya, a female police officer with her weapon drawn was searching the area for the suspects shortly after the robbery incident.
“She had her gun out and looked around by where the water is, and then she went to the front. Then I heard later that John Bull had been robbed,” the vendor recalled.
“For something like this to be happening here in the tourist area is not a good thing, and someone got killed here this year,” the vendor said.
“I know they have cameras around here, but they may need to hire some more security officers to deter persons from coming here and committing any more robberies.”
Ivan Moss, managing director of Port Lucaya Marketplace, said the area is safe despite the robbery incident, and the shooting of a man earlier in the year.
Mr Moss said representatives of the shopping centre are assisting the police with their investigations into the John Bull robbery. He said the marketplace is still safe.
“People do not have to be concerned because we are still safe, but some persons will try anything. We are working with the police and allowing them to have access to our surveillance footage to assist them with their investigation.”
Mr Moss said that Port Lucaya security officers were on the property at the time, but were not in the area where the robbery had taken place.
“Our security officers do not carry arms, and so we call the police who are just across the street from us,” Mr Moss said. “We did call the police in this case, and they were on the scene very quickly.”
Mr Moss explained that like anywhere else in the world, unfortunate incidents happen sometimes.
In January, a man was shot dead outside a popular restaurant at Port Lucaya.
In May, two armed men dressed as women, also wearing black wigs, robbed a watch and jewellery store in downtown Nassau.
An eyewitness told The Tribune at the time that the brazen daytime robbery happened at Quantum Duty Free on Bay Street shortly after 9am.
Police said two men entered the Bay Street store and caused damage to a display case and stole a quantity of watches before running away.
Meanwhile, the Royal Bahamas Police Force is appealing to the general public for information on yesterday’s robbery. They are asked to call the Central Detective Unit in Grand Bahama at 350-3107 through 12, 911, 919 or contact the nearest police station.